After a comprehensive 9 wicket win in the opening ODI Australia won a thriller final ball finish to seal the ODI series 2-0 with a match more and keep their rare ODI win streak of 26 alive.
Australia won the toss and Meg Lanning elected to bowl, a change each for both teams as an injured Racheal Haynes makes way for Nicola Carey and India roped in Rajeshwari Gayakwad for Sneh Rana.
India again put in to bat first, openers, Shafali and Smriti with good running and few good shots cleared their intent straightaway and a brilliant 50 run partnership was on board, spinner Sophie Molineux handed Australia a much wanted breakthrough and was a big one as she broke the 74 run opening stand that saw Shafali walk back on 22(23). Mithali Raj was next in and again was very defensive to start and Australia soon had their second and was a key wicket as skipper Meg with a brilliant save and throw dismissed the Indian skipper on 8(23). Yastika was next in and a set Smriti Mandhana on the other end got to her excellent half century, intentful. Wasn’t a lot from Yastika Bhatia as she was done with a short ball, went for the pull but Gardner had a catching practise. Richa Ghosh was next in and stitched up a brilliant 76 run stand with set Smriti Mandhana who was nearing her century, the partnership was at a good pace and it was Tahila McGrath with the breakthrough wicket this time and was of a attacking Smriti Mandhana on 86(94), brilliant knock by Smriti put India in a good position. Deepti Sharma was next in and again was a good little partnership that saw Richa Ghosh steal the show with some amazing shots but was next to depart as she fell 6 short of a deserving half century and again it was McGrath with a key wicket, a fine knock by Richa, 44(50). Pooja was in next and India were over the 200 mark in the 37th over and a struggling Deepti was next to depart on a handy 23(34) that saw Jhulan Goswami walk in. Jhulan and Pooja ensured India have a strong finish as Pooja was dismissed on the last ball of the innings on 29(37) and Jhulan remained unbeaten on 28(25), the required damage was done as the lower order and tail put up runs at good strike rate and India finsihed strong with the bat on 274-7 in their 50.
Australia with the ball were poor, 31 extras isn’t an excuse that included 17 wides. Tahila McGrath pick of the bowlers, topped the sheet with 3 in her 9. Nicola Carey bowled excellent but went wicketless in her 8 with economy of 3.2, Sophie Molineux in her 8 picked up 2 with economy of 3.5, Gardner in her 6 went wicketless with economy of 5. Darcie Brown looked a bit off colour picked up 1 wicket in her 10 with economy just over 6. Hannah Darlington looked completely off colour with economy of 9 in her 4, Ellyse Perry bowled her 5 with economy just over 6.
Australia in reply saw the big wicket of Healy on the 3rd ball and were 1 down without a run on board, an absolutely peach by Jhulan Goswami to dismiss the Aussie opener. Meghna Singh was soon rewarded with a wicket as she got the big wicket of the Aussie skipper, Meg Lanning on 6. Perry was in next and was out to a underarm throw at her end, walked back disappointed on 2. Beth Mooney was going good on one end was accompanied by Gardner who was next in and spent some time in the middle and Gardner walked back on 12 and it was Pooja with the fourth wicket for India. Australia with 52 on the board lost 4 with Beth Mooney batting on 25*(40). Tahila McGrath joined a set Beth Mooney and the duo went on to put up a solid partnership that saw Australia get past the 100 and 150 mark and were back in the contest as the game was well poised, McGrath got to her 50 and soon Beth Mooney too got to her 50, the duo put up a 126 run stand that saw curtains with the wicket of Tahila McGrath on 74(77), Deepti Sharma with the breakthrough wicket and Tahila walked back after a very brilliant knock that put Australia in a winning position. Nicola Carey joined a set Beth Mooney, after 40 overs 188 was on board and Australia needed 78 in 9. Beth Mooney switched gares and got to her century, Nicola was going well with a hundred strike rate and was doing well to rotate the strike. Australia needed 41 in 24 and did well taking the game till the last over, was the experienced Jhulan Goswami to defend 13 runs in the final over that saw 5 in first two, a no ball that saw 5 in the next three, Australia had 10(5) and with a ball to go Australia needed 3 and India managed a wicket, celebrations begun in the India camp but it was a no ball again, 3rd umpire on the edge of his seat calling that no ball, was a real close call and gives it to Australia, nerves ease for Australia as they wanted 2 in the final ball and get it with ease. Unreal and unbelievable scenes at Mackay as all-rounders put up brilliant show and India again short of ideas failed to capitalise on a real good start and let the match slip. Nicole Carey and Beth Mooney both excellent, finsihed unbeaten on 39(38) and 125(133) respectively, a last ball finish and a no ball that saw Australia escape and bagged the 2nd ODI by 5 wickets.
For India with the ball wasn’t much as after a few early wickets India let the match slip, a wicket each to Jhulan Goswami, Meghna Singh, Pooja Vastrakar and Deepti Sharma with good and decent economy rate. Rajeshwari Gayakwad bowled well with economy just below five but wasn’t rewarded with a wicket, she was the only Indian bowler to bowl her complete kota of 10. Poonam Yadav again looked completely off colour as she went for 38 in her 6. India are lacking wicket taking options in the middle overs that’s costing them huge, 4-52 and India just managed a wicket as Australia get to the required 275 is very unreal. With the ODI World Cup few months down the line this is alarming.
It was a win that will take time for both sides to swallow, a sweet pill for Australia but it’s a bitter one for India. Australia take the 3 match ODI series 2-0 with the last ODI to be played on 26th, a quick turnaround for the final ODI.